Photographed by Alicia Lavender Photography

Greetings Blessed Child of God,

Welcome Winter Solstice and a soon to be Farewell to 2018, with an {Expectant} Hello to 2019 and a Fierce {Winter} Look at 2018…walk with me for a moment. Wonder how your year went? This year has been a trying year and a rewarding year all wrapped up into one. It changed me, broke me, and opened my eyes…I acquired more gray hair than any thirty-six year old woman cares to count. Yet me and this Red {Winter} Coat remain inseparable. I’ve flown more United MileagePlus air miles in one year than I have in my entire adult life and survived life working three jobs and studying at two different schools between sea level and altitude on a regular basis. I Prayed harder than ever before for my Peace and Sanity. I faced fears and chose the road less traveled. I sought purpose over promotion, faith over fame, and the importance of passion over a paycheck.

I cried! I laughed! I prayed! I listened! Rinse repeat! Counted the cost and stood up to injustices on the job and the environment surrounding me anyway. I learned to live a #bts kind of life. Too busy working and praying to be “posting” and “posing” for the ‘gram or some fitness stage! Death of the #fitgirl! A Beautiful Eulogy.  2018 was a planning year. A seed planting year. A hidden year. A Planted but not buried kind of year. A Purpose Driven Year. A Shut up and Pour type of Year. Many times than I cared to count; it was also a very Painful year. Physically, Mentally and Emotionally. Growing pains. I learned that Pain has a way of producing a Plan…God’s Plan…and Freedom from Pain produces Execution of said Plan. He taught me to lead from that pain and through it all I watched as #bts my testimony enriched the lives of others, {Just Being} Present. Encouraging them on in the faith (3 John 2), even as my own soul was being nourished. 

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

3 John 2 (KJV)

To recap the events of 2018. I look back to the end of 2017. With a decade + 2 and currently now 3 years (13) in the nursing profession, in my spirit I heard that still small voice calling me again to walk away. This time there was a deadline on it… three years. Follow me. A Peter let me use your boat type of command (Matt. 4:18-22; Luke 5:1-11). A command that was actually all too familiar to me 10 years ago; as the words seminary school circulated the airwaves of my tattered soul. A soul wounded by the issues of life and an imperfect past. Bruised and Battered; yet still a Believer. A Public Servant since my youth ministry days. I Volunteered. I Served. I Organized. I Performed. I even tried to Carry a Tune. I even Traveled Abroad on Missions. Nevertheless,  I ran. Feeling unworthy. I ran from the call to go All the Way Into the Ministry. Enter Jonah; except there’s no whale in my story…

One day long ago, God’s Word came to Jonah, Amittai’s son: “Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way and I can’t ignore it any longer.”
But Jonah got up and went the other direction to Tarshish, running away from God

Jonah 1 :1-3

So before 2018 was 3/4 done;  year one after the revisiting of that still small voice, I found myself enrolled in my first semester of Bible College and a School of Public Health simultaneously. I reconstructed my blog, websites and social platforms and began the process of letting God have full rights and privileges to brand my life in whatever way He chooses with His seal (Song of Solomon 8:6-7).

Hang my locket around your neck,
wear my ring on your finger.
Love is invincible facing danger and death.
Passion laughs at the terrors of hell.
The fire of love stops at nothing—
it sweeps everything before it.
Flood waters can’t drown love,
torrents of rain can’t put it out.
Love can’t be bought, love can’t be sold—
it’s not to be found in the marketplace.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7

I stopped holding on so tight to what was or what I thought I wanted my life to look like and I stopped letting other people tell me what they thought my life should look like as well. Instead of only allowing God to have the parts of my life that I thought I couldn’t handle on my own; I learned a hard lesson that I was never able to handle any part of my life on my own in the first place.

So this Girl and her fierce Red {winter} Coat are on a journey. A liberated journey. A journey with an Eternal purpose. A forever kind of Mission. But most of all an Authentic adventure into {Just Being} Candice Maria…

Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

2 Kings 2:8

So while 2018  shook my world like an earthquake and kept me on my knees;  it also refocused me on all that really matters in my life. So 2019 I’m ready for ya…let us continue to #CrossOver to the other side of the Jordan, this Girl and her God have work to do…

Until next time…Write from the Heart

{Just Being} Candice Maria

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